Some observations on the "overnight" issue that, hopefully, few if any on here will find disagreeable.
Firstly it looks as if L2 in 2020-21 is going to be even more "northern" than usual with long hauls up to Barrow and Harrogate added to the mix.
But it isn't just trips up towards the "arctic" that are an issue. Those long cross-country journeys to the likes of Grimsby, Scunthorpe and even Colchester are not straightforward in terms of travel either.
Even the "mere" 190 miles to Crawley is not entirely simple (regardless of whether you go the M5/M4, A303 or A35/A27 coastal route). It's a drive I have made many, many times during my working years and if I had a meeting at our head office there I would ALWAYS allow a good four hours - and that's in an unlimited light vehicle. OK, I will admit that my personal best for the journey was about 2 and a quarter hours (please don't do the maths!!! ) but that was very much the exception rather than the general rule. I would imagine that in a coach, and considering matters like driver's breaks, player meals and time to generally "loosen up" after the journey we are probably talking of allowing a good 6 to 7 hours just for that relatively short trip.
Another factor regarding travel on the day is also the risk of delays en route. I know from long and bitter experience that, increasingly over the years, even relatively minor dings with no injuries can still lead to motorways being blockaded for hours on end while all the skid marks are being measured to the satisfaction of the parties involved (and their insurers). Indeed I do remember a few years ago there was a "Friday incident" on the M5 near Bristol that found the Torquay team coach marooned on the motorway for around 8 hours. I recall the pictures in the press of the players, in their training kit, having a kick-around and keeping loosen up on the hard shoulder (I can't place the exact date but I seem to recall that, although City also had a fixture that week end up in the far north, fortunately, it was one that they were "Fly-Be'd" to and thus managed to avoid this snarl up.
While such incidents are completely unavoidable and unforeseeable the never-generous EFL Regulations make no concessions to this all-too-common circumstance.
Regulation 27.3 clearly states: It is the responsibility of the Away Club to organise its travel arrangements so as to ensure that it arrives in sufficient time to enable the advertised kick-off time to be adhered to.
and A breach of this Regulation is designated a strict liability offence as detailed in Regulation 87.
I can't see in the regs any clear indication of what the financial penalties might be but, knowing the EFL and their general approach - and still remembering with bitterness the "Scunthorpe debacle" back in 1974 - I can't imagine them being anything but draconian. Quite probably more than the cost of an overnighter would be...and with probable points deductions as well!
The regulations define permissable kick-off times as follows
27.1 The Home Club shall fix the time of kick-off:
27.1.1 between 11.30am and 3.15 pm for Saturday matches;
27.1.2 between 7.00pm and 8.05 pm for midweek matches; and
27.1.3 between 11.30am and 8.05pm for Bank Holiday matches.
They do allow a formula for claiming "allowable expenses" by the visiting side but only for kick offs moved to before 12 noon
(Rather bizarrely the regs do actually allow, in the event of a postponement, the visiting club to claim some compensation from the home sides where it would be necessary or desirable for the Visiting Club to leave its headquarters before 9am on the day of the match, alternatively, not be possible to arrive back at its headquarters within five hours travelling time, including a stop of not more than 30 minutes, of the conclusion of the League Match.. Unfortunately, this travelling "concession" only seems to apply if the game isn't actually played.)
I would submit that a fairer system of allowable travel and accommodation cost would be one based on distance and/or reasonable journey duration rather than merely kick-off time. This would be equitable to ALL sides, regardless of location, but I acknowledge that the is probably more chance of Matt T calling me up to partner The Bowman up front next season than the EFL adopting this (sensible?) proposal.
One final point. It could be argued that the same constraints apply to our northern guests on their return visits to the south but, over the course of the season, they will have far, far fewer likely overnight trips that their southern counterparts. Also, certainly for the "bankrolled" clubs I cannot envisage their sugar-daddies withholding accommodation largesse in the interests of "fairness". I fear that the current "playing field" in this respect is even less level than Mr Anton's legendary survey of the old SJP pitch.
Presumably in the past accommodation and travel costs were, at least in part, financed from the revenue generated from our club's home receipts. However, in the present circumstances where most, if not all, match income is curtailed for the foreseeable future one has to wonder how these unavoidable costs will be paid. I fear that, at the moment, without positive support from the EFL lower league football is possibly facing an existential crisis.
I would like to hope that the "powers that be" would be recognising and taking positive steps to mitigate these circumstances....but I ain't holding my breath.
Sorry for the long rant but it is just one small element that concerns me about the future prospects for our club and our hopes for the coming season.